I made a special point of attending this morning’s Enterprise Network social media panel, which was moderated by Patrick O’Grady and featured four local communication pros from the tech community.
The panelists were Kathy Sacks from Infusionsoft, Cindy Kim from JDA Software, Al Maag from Avnet, and Ed Brice from Lumension. They offered us some insights on what motivated them to include social media as part of their overall branding strategy. A few highlights:
Ed - Lumension didn’t have a marketing budget like a giant company such as McAfee, and decided to pursue social media as part of their strategy. It’s no longer the traditional buying cycle, he said. We have to have a dialogue and show thought leadership.
Al - it’s not easy to convince a company to engage in social media, he admitted. Our brand is imperative to be successful. I just know we should be doing something. I’m a big believer in video, and we started a portal. We figured that if we can get our customers to market faster with helpful content, we can get the jump balls (nice basketball analogy!).
Cindy – social media is having an impact on B2B companies. It’s helpful in order to build thought leadership. At Lumension (where she previously worked), they saw a 55% increase in business media coverage because of the blog. The intent of the blog was to establish relationships, and this was a nice outcome. At JDA, she created a framework to get the C-level buy in, and conducted quite a bit of research to shed light on how the landscape is shifting. Content in social media needs to be objective, informative, and educational, she emphasized.
Kathy - we are therapists, because we need to listen as part of social media, and we are publishers, because we are creating meaningful content for our community. We have 20,000 users, 5000 small businesses, who are a loud, vocal bunch. It’s a core part of our marketing strategy. Social media allows us to level the playing field. But it requires a headcount — someone internal to engage and monitor it.
One of the best tips of all that I heard during the panel was from Ed Brice. He said, “At some point, get out of the ROI discussion. You have to decide if you want to be there. Don’t use social media as a lead generation tool.” I thought this was a great insight and one not commonly reinforced. Those at the C-level with whom we deal often equate public relations and social media as tools for lead generation, and that’s not really the goal. As Chris Heuer once pointed out, it’s a conversation with someone, not to someone. Ed continued that “people don’t want to be sold to. Honesty is what it’s about. It’s a content-centric world in B2 B. The number one source of trust is the peer of the person you’re trying to sell to. You don’t control your brand, your customers do. People believe in their peers.”
This, of course, is the mantra of social media. We need more panels like this to get the word out.
Enterprise Network knows how to put on a good meeting, and the networking environment this morning was superb. Keep them in mind for future events – check them out at www.en.org.
And kudos to Kathy and Cindy for dealing with the open talk show format — the panelists were up on a stage with four chairs and no table in front, which needless to say is difficult to maneuver when you’re wearing heels and a dress.
Photo courtesy of Laird Brown PhotographyTweet
the rumors are true (@ Neighbor from the 90′s)...
Sorry to see you go. avic-x920bt
First the Space Shuttle program and now this???? OH NO!...
I think it’s really funny that Jason donates money...
Sad to see you go Mr Len… been a great ride
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